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My trip to Brum (not for those challenged for bandwidth, perhaps...)

14138 Views 109 Replies 50 Participants Last post by  fruit&nut
Hauled arse and camera up to Brum for a day out yesterday - this is what the place looked like in the spring sunshine...

New Street, ironically named, is the third oldest street in the city, first mentioned in the twelfth century.

The pink terracotta Cannon Street.

The Trocadero in Temple Street, originally an insurance office, was converted into a pub in 1900 with the addition of a fine Art Nouveau mosaic along the ground floor.

Colmore Row, traditionally the heart of Birmingham's Banking Quarter.

Yeoville Thomason's 1869 Union Club.

In addition to its palatial Victorian banking halls, Colmore Row has a couple of buildings that were milestones in the transition from the Arts and Crafts style of the late nineteenth century to the proto-modernism of the early twentieth. This is the first, WR Lethaby's 1900 Eagle Star Insurance Building...

...and this is the second - Henman and Cooper's Scottish Union and National Insurance Building of 1902.

Temple Row.

Surrounded by some of the busiest streets in Central Brum, the lawyer- and private banker- dominated Waterloo Street always seems surreally peaceful.

St Philips, designed by Thomas Archer in 1726, is the finest Baroque church in the UK outside London.

The Hotel du Vin in Church Street.

Victorian town houses in Cornwall Street.

One wing of J.H Chamberlain's posthumous masterpiece - the School of Art in Margaret Street, completed in 1885.

Birmingham is famous for its ornate terracotta architecture - these are the 1896 Bell Edison offices by Frederick Martin.

More restrained and understated Victoriana on Edmund Street...

The triumphal arch of the Council House, Birmingham's rather prosaically named City Hall.

The City Museum and Art Gallery in Chamberlain Square.

Anthony Gormley's 1993 "Iron Man" sculpture in Victoria Square.


Selfridges' interior.

The Bull Ring has been Birmingham's commercial heart since 1166 when Henry II first granted Peter de Bermingham a charter to hold a weekly fair around St Martin's Church. One of its more recent additions is this patinated copper mollusc-shaped coffee shop, based on the Fibonacci sequence and designed in 2004 by Marks Barfield, architects of the London Eye.

St Paul's Church, set in a leafy Georgian square, is the heart of the Jewellery Quarter - an area of small early nineteenth century workshops north west of the city centre that has the largest concentration of specialist Jewelers in the world, intermingled with a wealth of bars, clubs and restaurants.

Brummie terracotta's finest moment - Aston Webb and Ingress Bell's incredibly detailed and terrifyingly red Victoria Law Courts in Corporation Street.

Many of Birmingham's streets, particularly in the city centre, retain their original white-painted cast iron Victorian street signs.

Broad Street, famous (notorious?) for its clubs, bars and drunken weekend revelry. Even the church, if you examine it closely, turns out to be a bar.

Brindley Place, an exemplary mixed-use development north of Broad Street with over 1 million square feet of offices, along with museums, restaurants, hotels and residential buildings. From the left ... CZWG's Cafe in the Square, Stanton Williams' Four Brindley Place, Foster and Partners' National Sea Life Centre. A fine example of how to develop a completely new district into a real slice of city - this photograph is taken at the weekend, remember.

JH Chamberlain's former Oozells Street Board School, redesigned as part of the Brindley Place development by Levitt Bernstein Associates into a new home for the Ikon Gallery - one of Birmingham's foremost centres for contemporary art.

Edgbaston, ajoining the city centre to the immediate south west. In Birmingham you can live in a white stucco Georgian or Victorian villa and still be close enough to the city centre to walk to work every morning. As long as you've got enough money, of course...

Victorian Suburbs ... Moseley, about 2 miles south of the city centre

... Sparkhill, to the east of the city centre, is officially the most deprived ward in the city.

Deritend, literally the "Dirty End" of town, was the site of the original boggy ford across the River Rea that was the reason for Birmingham's existance. While Birmingham itself grew as a market town on the nearby hill that became the City Centre, Deritend and Digbeth below spent centuries as Birmingham's workhorses - leaving a gritty but characterful post-industrial district of factories, mills and old-fashioned no-nonsense boozers. This picture shows the factory that made Bird's Custard, slowly developing into a centre for arts, music and alternative shopping, together with Birmingham's oldest pub, the Old Crown, which dates from 1490, and Father Lopez's Chapel, a small victorian church set up by a Catholic missionary to try and save the souls of the area's impoverished residents. Already showing signs of a dramatic rebirth, this area has so much potential it's frightening.

Holloway Circus Tower, in a short while (and for a short while) to be the tallest tower in the UK outside London.
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Fantastic Bileduct.
I lived there for a couple of years (while back mind) and I can't recall 3/4's of those scenes.
A re-visit is on the cards very soon.
What a great pad the Scottish Union and National Insurance Building would make
Northy- Bileducts captions on that other thread have more info on them if you care to look.

The Scottish Union and National Insurance Building is now occupied by Bar 110. It has a smallish and expensive bar on the grund floor ( apparnetly well stokced for premium gins and vodkas), a generally quiet restraunt in the basement and a private morcoccan themed memebers bar upsatirs with a roof terrace.
What a busy day you had. Fantastic pictures. I know this city so well, and yet I've seen new details in those pictures! Thank you. Oh & glad you made it to Edgbaston too, made me proud to see the home turf! :applause: :)
Super stuff bileduct, much appreciated. I have no doubt those photos will surpise a few people who have certain negative preconceptions of what Brum looks like. Enjoyed the more detailed text on the vs. Glasgow thread too. You must've been worn out after taking that lot in though!
I think a visit to B'ham is definitely on the cards for me too. It is the only major UK city I have not had a good look around- and these pictures paint an impressive picture. Should only take a couple of hours from York. What's it like for parking? Or should I just take the train?
Great photos ,I was surprised at the number of nice old buildings in brum on my visit last year. Its reputation as a concrete jungle is unjust.
Cheers everybody - glad you liked them. Sorry if the gamma went a bit awry on a couple. I'll try and sort out the wayward ones and post a few more while I'm at it too.

@Northy, I quite fancy the Norman Shaw-esque red brick checker board thing on Cornwall St myself. Not sure they'd swap it for my 70s flat in Lewisham, mind.
Do you mind if I post your thread on SSP, Mr Duct?
Rigadon said:
Do you mind if I post your thread on SSP, Mr Duct?
Naah, go for it, Mr Don.
Bostin' pics Bileduct! Those chimnies in Edgbaston (white ones) are something else.
This is the best collection of pics that should completely disspell any misconceptions of Brum being devoid of any beauty. Fantastic Bileduct!
There are some buildings which are unfortunately covered up with scaffold that would really beef up this collection, like Town Hall, Baskerville and Grand Hotel, but these will be unearthed again soon. The Town Hall is of course our masterpiece, designed by Hansom (of the cab) and is based on the Temple of Castor and Pollux. The only better examples I've seen in the world for myself are the Acropolis in Athens and Eglise Madeleine in Paris. Roll on 2007! Also, Brum's got a nice collection of 20s art-deco bldgs on Great Charles St, plus a gorgeous 30s Riviera-looking beauty on New St opposite Pizza Hut. It's got the zigzig fascias plus ornate balconies. Perhaps somebody might know the name and date of this baby?
^what the bloody hell's that?!

Can't say I've ever noticed it. Probably too busy staring at Pizza Hut when I stroll past.
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